I’d like to introduce you to the members of the family at the Happy Home. To help you to get to know each of the children I’ve written a bit about them and where possible, a bit of a background about why they are in the home, some of this has come from what I’ve learnt here and some from a website set up by the organisation that runs the Happy Home. Each child has also kindly answered some question about what their favourite things.
I am going to post this blog in a few parts to keep it to a readable length (and I want to take some more pics of some of the children before I share their stories).
First I would like you to meet Basanti the children’s mother.
As well as the children at the Happy Home Basanti has four daughters of her own. Tragically, her husband was killed whilst working in Iraq when her children were young. Whilst she works extremely hard, she is lucky to have this home and job. As a widow living in her traditional village she would have had a very hard life and have faced a lot of social discrimination.
As well as losing her husband, her mother died when she was very young. They are a small family, she has only one brother, who she met with recently for the first time in 5 years. I was with her when she met up with him, you wouldn’t have thought they hadn’t seen each other for years, there was no hugging or kissing, it is not done here.
Her two youngest daughters Rupa (or Chiring as she likes to be called) and Ranju live with her at the Happy Home. Her eldest daughter is married and had a little girl who very sadly died about nine months ago when she was just two years old. Her second daughter is 17 and lives with an uncle in the city and goes to school there. I’m not sure why she lives separately, I don’t want to pry too much. Her 17 year old daughter has recently had some heart problems, which is naturally causing Basanti a lot of worry.
You couldn’t tell by watching which of the children are Basanti’s, she treats them all fairly and is a very good mother to them all, and they all call her Mummy. All the children are extremely well behaved and happy to help her with the household chores. When she is cooking you often find several children in the kitchen, helping or just chatting away with her.
She shares her small bedroom with her two daughters. In her room she has pictures up on the wall of her husband, her bed, the girls bunk beds and a small wardrobe. She is very proud of her wardrobe, she showed me it on my second day, a volunteer bought it for her. The same afternoon she showed me her photo albums, again which many of the volunteers have put together after their trips and sent to her, in addition to those she has a few family photographs.
Basanti is always quick to smile and when she does it lights up her face. She has beautiful long hair and takes good care of herself, whenever she leaves the Home she always looks gets dressed up and looks very smart.
She works extremely hard and takes great care of the children. She also has a lot of patience with the volunteers who at times I am sure are more of a hinderance than a help, but she never shows it.